Posted on July 27, 2012

Those Unmentionable Asians!

Jared Taylor, American Renaissance, July 26, 2012

The NAACP and something called the Coalition of The Silence [sic] have filed a formal complaint with the US Department of Education claiming that the public schools of Fairfax County, Virginia, discriminate against blacks and Hispanics. Their prime piece of evidence is that whites and Asians are far more likely to be admitted to the county’s most selective school, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ).

That is true. Here are the racial percentages for all students in the county public schools and the percentages of the 480 students admitted to TJ’s class of 2016. All figures are from the complaint.

Percentage in School District

Percentage at TJ
















The complaint argues that problems for blacks and Hispanics begin long before they apply to TJ. Charisse Espy Glassman of the NAACP claims discrimination begins in kindergarten. She says the county needs to pour resources into the early grades, identify gifted blacks and Hispanics, and funnel them into TJ. Not to do so, she says, violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination in education.Thomas Jefferson is one of the most selective public schools in America. It has a rigorous entrance examination that weeds out most applicants, and those who pass are further winnowed on the basis of essays, grades, and recommendations. Most TJ students were in gifted programs at middle school.

Martina Hone of the Coalition of The Silence agrees: “Poor Latino kids are not being identified, and I worry part of that is language. African-American kids are not being identified. I’m worried that’s race.” Miss Hone may have special qualifications for detecting discrimination — “I’m a biracial American. I grew up dealing with race” — and she states the key assumption of the DOE complaint without reservation: “Look at any study of giftedness. It is equally distributed across humanity. God did not change that rule when he got to Fairfax County.”

Miss Hone is flat wrong about that. If there is even one serious study that reports students of all races are equally gifted we would like to see it. There is probably not one gifted program in any of America’s 16,000 school districts that is not top heavy with Asians and has to scrape for blacks and Hispanics. Gary Orfield, of the Civil Rights Project at the University of California-Los Angeles, says the problem is “ubiquitous.” Fairfax County is like everywhere else.

But let us examine the racial disparities that so distress Miss Hone and Miss Glassman. Given the figures they cite in their complaint, we can calculate that whites are 4.8 times more likely than Hispanics to be admitted to TJ, and are 4.2 times more likely than blacks. Asians, however, are 5.4 times more likely than whites to be admitted. If whites are the standard, the most striking problem at TJ appears to be discrimination in favor of Asians. The complaint runs to 16 single-spaced pages and alleges “institutional discrimination” against blacks and Hispanics, but says nothing about the fact that the incoming class at TJ is nearly two-thirds Asian.

I telephoned Charisse Glassman of the NAACP to ask about Asians. “I can’t really speak to that,” she said, adding that she hoped the Department of Education will dig up the “root causes,” of what is happening. I pointed out that she didn’t wait for the DOE to discover that black and Hispanic underrepresentation is caused by institutional discrimination, and that by that logic there must be discrimination in favor of Asians. “I’m not here to get into a back and forth about Asians,” she said, and hung up the phone.

Miss Hone did not reply to e-mail, so I called her about Asians, too. “We have been really reluctant to comment on that question,” she said, adding that she was “disappointed” that anyone should raise it. “I don’t want to blame the children for a flawed system,” she went on. “It doesn’t help black and Latino kids to blame the Asians.” I said I wasn’t blaming Asians; I just wanted to know why they are overrepresented. Miss Hone then said that she had been waiting for taxi, which had arrived, asked for my number, and promised to call me back. So far, she has broken that promise.

Well, of course, Miss Glassman doesn’t want to “speak to” the question of Asians, and of course, Miss Hone is “disappointed” if anyone asks about them. Asian success knocks a huge hole in their theory of “institutional discrimination.” It would be absurd to claim there is institutional discrimination in favor of Asians, so if they are getting into TJ it must be because they are smarter or work harder. But if that’s so, could whites be smarter or work harder than blacks and Hispanics? That is forbidden territory, so the enemies of “institutional discrimination” hope no one talks about Asians, and hang up on anyone who does. What else can they do?

The real question is what the people who run the Fairfax County schools will do. For the first 12 years after its founding in 1985, Thomas Jefferson High School lowered standards to let in blacks and Hispanics, but in response to several 1997 federal court decisions on “affirmative action,” it shut down preferences, and the number of blacks and Hispanics plummeted. After the Supreme Court’s University of Michigan decisions in 2003 permitting “holistic” racial preferences, TJ started taking race into consideration again, but the numbers did not change much. Since 2000, the county has run a Young Scholars program that tries to groom promising elementary-school students for TJ. More than half the “young scholars” who get special handling are black or Hispanic — sounds like institutional discrimination to us — but they still can’t make it into TJ.

Fairfax County Public Schools are not yet in real trouble because the Department of Education has just received the papers. A spokesman says the department got 7,800 complaints last fiscal year, and can’t investigate them all. But this would be a splashy case: raging discrimination at what US News and World Report calls the second best public school in the whole country! The Obama administration snorts like a race horse at the faintest whiff of “racism,” and Fairfax County is a handy target, just across the Potomac. The county can barely keep its elementary-school bands and foreign-language immersion programs going, but it would have to spend heaps of money to defend itself against this foolishness.

It takes smart people to teach smart children. The people at TJ, who run a veritable laboratory of applied race differences, have surely heard of Arthur Jensen, Charles Murray, Linda Gottfredson, Amy Wax, or Richard Lynn — they just don’t have the spine to say so. Do they even have the spine to talk about Asians? We’ll see when DOE comes calling.